Train to Dhaka on Bengali New Year’s Day

March 1st, 2008 - 6:36 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, March 1 (IANS) After several hurdles, a train may finally chug out of Kolkata for Dhaka April 14, carrying a heavy burden of emotions as it restores a link after four decades. Visiting Bangladesh Army Chief General Moeen U. Ahmed is hopeful that “Maitree Express”, the train between India and Bangladesh, will begin its formal run from the forthcoming Bengali New Year’s Day April 14.

At Visva-Bharati University campus in Santiniketan Saturday, Ahmed said: “We are trying to run the passenger train between Kolkata and Dhaka on the Bengali New Year’s day.”

Ahmed, who arrived in West Bengal Friday from New Delhi, also visited Gede, about 150 km from Kolkata. Gede is the last station on Indian soil, after which the train would enter Bangladesh.

He met Border Security Force (BSF) officials there to see the arrangements.

“We are eager to start the train service as early as possible as this will strengthen the bond between two neighbours. This will also enhance business opportunities between the two countries,” he said.

The train service, which was to start earlier, got stuck over the Indian government’s demand for fencing of Indo-Bangla border on either side.

Asked to comment on the fencing issue, the Bangla army chief said: “This would be sorted out shortly.”

According to Eastern Railway sources, the weekly train that will travel the 345 km between Kolkata and Dhaka will have six coaches, including one air-conditioned chair car and a pantry car.

The journey will take about 12 hours and the fare will range between Rs.300 and Rs.800.

“Every year almost 600,000 Bangladeshis come to India. In comparison only 80,000-90,000 Indians go to Bangladesh. After resuming the train service we expect that more people would travel between the two countries,” Kamral Hassain, first secretary of the Bangladesh deputy high commission, said here.

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